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Useful Tropical Plants

Cyrilla racemiflora

L.

Cyrillaceae

+ Synonyms

Andromeda plumata Bartram ex Marshall

Cyrilla antillana Michx.

Cyrilla brevifolia N.E.Br.

Cyrilla caroliniana Michx.

Cyrilla cubensis P.Wilson

Cyrilla fuscata Raf.

Cyrilla nipensis Urb.

Cyrilla nitidissima Urb.

Cyrilla parvifolia Shuttlew.

Cyrilla perrottetii Briq.

Cyrilla polystachia Raf.

Itea caroliana Lam.

Itea caroliniana Lam.

Itea cyrilla L'Hér.

Itea cyrilla Sw.

Itea floribunda Salisb.

Itea virginica L.

Stachyanthemum schomburgkii Klotzsch

Common Name: Leatherwood

Cyrilla racemiflora
Fruiting branch
Photograph by: David Stang
Creative Commons License
Cyrilla racemiflora Cyrilla racemiflora Cyrilla racemiflora Cyrilla racemiflora

General Information

Leatherwood is an evergreen shrub or a tree with a wide, spreading, many-branched crown; it can grow 8 - 15 metres tall. The irregular bole can be 15 - 75cm in diameter. The plant often grows simply as a large shrub, sending up many stems from the roots[
638
Title
The Woods of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Sargent C.S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
D. Appleton & Co.; New York
Year
1885
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on the woods of a large number of N. American species of trees and shrubs. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
876
Title
The American Woods (in 14 volumes)
Publication
 
Author
Hough R.B.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Romeyn B. Hough Co.; New York
Year
1888 - 1928
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information, with photographs, of the woods of almost 400 species of American trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The tree is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of wood. A beautiful tree, especially when bearing its abundant racemes of white flowers, which sometimes are so numerous as almost to prevail over the lustrous dark-green of the foliage[
876
Title
The American Woods (in 14 volumes)
Publication
 
Author
Hough R.B.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Romeyn B. Hough Co.; New York
Year
1888 - 1928
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information, with photographs, of the woods of almost 400 species of American trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

S. America - Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana; C. America - Panama to Mexico; Caribbean; SE North America - Virginia to Florida and Texas.

Habitat

Rich shaded river bottoms, the borders of sandy swamps and shallow ponds of the coastal pine-belt[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
]. Also found on high, sandy, exposed ridges rising above streams[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitDeciduous Shrub
Height1.20 m
Growth RateSlow
PollinatorsBees
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Leatherwood has a very wide distribution in the wild, extending southwards from South-eastern North America through central America and the Caribbean to Brazil. Usually a small, evergreen tree, it can become deciduous in colder winters in the north of its range[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. It grows to its largest dimensions in the cloud forests of Mexico and Puerto Rico, where the mean annual rainfall can exceed 5,500mm[
875
Title
The Red List of Mexican Cloud Forest Trees
Publication
 
Author
Editors González-Espinosa M., et al.
Website
http://www.globaltrees.org
Publisher
Fauna and Flora International; Cambridge, UK.
Year
2011
ISBN
 
Description
Available to download from the Internet in PDF format, this publication gives some basic information on the trees of the Mexican Cloud Forests, focussing on their conservation status, but also with a description, habitat, some uses etc.
].
Requires a sunny position and a humus-rich soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Thrives in a mixture of peat and loam[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
]. Prefers a circum-neutral or slightly acid, moisture-retentive soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The flowers are produced at the base of the current years growth[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. In tropical areas the plant can flower and produce fruit all year round[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The spongy bark at the base of the trunk is pliable, absorbent and astringent. It has been recommended as a styptic, and is said to have a cicratizing effect on wounds[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
876
Title
The American Woods (in 14 volumes)
Publication
 
Author
Hough R.B.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Romeyn B. Hough Co.; New York
Year
1888 - 1928
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information, with photographs, of the woods of almost 400 species of American trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

The whole plant is boiled, and the water used as an anthelmintic[
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
].

Other Uses

The trunks of older trees are often hollow, and these are sometimes used as beehives[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
].

The heartwood is brown, tinged with red; the sapwood is a little lighter. Texture is fine and uniform; grain close, but highly interlocked; lustre moderate to low; growth rings distinct; with no discernible taste ot aroma in seasoned wood. The wood is moderately heavy; very hard; not strong; susceptible to dry-wood termites. It takes a very smooth polish. The rate of air-seasoning is very slow, but degrade is exceptionally severe, and shrinkage is very high. Machining characteristics are as follows: planing and resistance to screw splitting are excellent; shaping, turning, boring, and mortising are good; and sanding is fair. An attractive wood, though little use is made of it commercially because of its tendency to warp severely. Its properties would suggest a usefulness in turnery, as for tool-handles, etc.[
82
Title
Manual of the Trees of N. America.
Publication
 
Author
Sargent. C. S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/
Publisher
Dover Publications Inc. New York.
Year
1965
ISBN
0-486-20278-X
Description
Two volumes, a comprehensive listing of N. American trees though a bit out of date now. Good details on habitats, some details on plant uses. Not really for the casual reader. It can be downloaded from the internet.
,
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
,
638
Title
The Woods of the United States
Publication
 
Author
Sargent C.S.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
D. Appleton & Co.; New York
Year
1885
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on the woods of a large number of N. American species of trees and shrubs. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
,
876
Title
The American Woods (in 14 volumes)
Publication
 
Author
Hough R.B.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
Romeyn B. Hough Co.; New York
Year
1888 - 1928
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information, with photographs, of the woods of almost 400 species of American trees. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. It is used to make furniture in Cuba[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
]. Due to the timber's extremely poor seasoning characteristics, its most satisfactory use is in the green condition and where drying will not take place. It is suitable for buried piling and underwater parts of docks and wharves[
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
]

The wood is used for fuel and to produce charcoal[
447
Title
Common Trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands
Publication
 
Author
Little E.L.; Wadsworth F.H.
Publisher
USDA, Forest Service; Washington.
Year
1964
ISBN
 
Description
Contains detailed information, and usually an illustration, on 250 tree species, including both native and exotic species.
,
341
Title
South American Timbers: the Properties, Uses and Characteristics of 190 Species.
Publication
 
Author
Bolza. E. & Christensen. F.J.
Publisher
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Year
1979
ISBN
0 643 02582 0
Description
A very useful guide.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a nursery seedbed[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings into individual pots.
Cuttings of softwood[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Cuttings of half-ripe wood[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Root cuttings[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

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